How and Why Do People Peer Reviews?
When you write an essay, you need someone to tell you what corrections you need to make. Unfortunately, your teacher is not always available or willing to review your paper and honor you with their comments, so you need a peer to help you view your writing from a critical point of view. It gets even better: you can also work on your analyzing skills by commenting on your peer’s essay. That will help you both to view your work from a different perspective that will eventually improve your essay writing skills.
How should you analyze and review your peer’s essay?
Before you can comment on someone else’s writing, you need to follow clear guidelines. If you don’t know what to look for in an essay, you will only be able to give vague and short comments that won’t help the writer to improve the content. That’s why you should ask yourself some very detailed questions and analyze the peer’s essay from many aspects. You will also find these questions helpful when you need to evaluate your own work.
These are the questions you need to take into consideration when providing your comments on an essay:
1. What is the main point of the writer? Can you rephrase it in your own words right after reading the paper?
2. Is there something that the writer did well?
3. What is the biggest problem in the paper and how can the writer improve it?
4. Are the observations offered in the paper unique? What did you learn from that paper? If you didn’t learn anything new, what were the reasons for that?
5. Is the main thesis in the paper an arguable fact? It should be! Can a different point of view be opposed to that statement? What would that argument be?
6. Is the main thesis clearly defined in the end of the introductory paragraph? It should be!
7. Is the introductory paragraph well-constructed? Does it provide a smooth entrance into the discussion? If not, what improvements would you suggest?
8. Is each argument associated to the thesis?
9. Is there a topic sentence at the beginning of each paragraph? Do all topic sentences capture the essence of the paragraphs they are associated to?
10. Does every paragraph elaborate a separate argument? Can you identify the main ideas of each paragraph? Do some paragraphs get out of focus?
11. Is the structure of the essay proportionate? Are there any long paragraphs that need to be shortened? Are there any paragraphs that are too short and need to be elaborated further?
12. Are the quotations smoothly infused into the text? Are they clearly associated with the discussion?
13. Analyze the conclusion: does it provide a brief, but fresh summary of the main argument? Is there a memorable note that makes you think about the paper after reading it?
14. Is there enough evidence offered for the main points of discussion? Did the evidence convince you that the writer was right?
15. Did the writer provide a references page that cites all used sources according to the assigned citation style?
16. Was the used citation style properly used throughout the essay?
17. Did the writer format the paper correctly?
18. Were there any spelling and grammar issues in the content?
19. Is the title of the essay creative enough? Does it convey the purpose of the paper in a catchy way? What improvements would you suggest?
20. If you were the author of this paper, would you do something differently? What and why?
Use these questions for self-review
If you don’t have a peer who can review your essay, you can use the same questions to analyze your own work. Try to view the paper from a reader’s point of view and don’t get attached to the discussion. This is usually a hard thing to do, but you can make it happen if you leave the paper to sit for a day or two after writing it. When you go back to it, the content will seem fresh and you will be able to criticize it.